19 Aug 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: In an effort to get Chinese doctors to begin prescribing GlaxoSmithKline's Botox medication, the British drug maker's employees in China are said to have organized an all-expense-paid trip for a group of doctors in May.
According to an anonymous tipster, who alerted company executives, about 30 doctors were taken on a three-day tour of the scenic river town of Guilin, one of China's premier tourist destinations. One of the physicians at Beijing's Bo'ai Hospital, Cui Lihua, was one of the 30 doctors invited on the tour. The tour, she said included a trip to Elephant Trunk Hill and Seven Stars Park.
Dr Cui did not provide any information about the fee involved, but said that she received a lecture fee from GSK and learned a lot. The travel documents sent by the anonymous tipster included details of other trips allegedly organized to places such as Budapest and Greece.
Chinese officials have alleged that GSK employees held fake conferences and funneled the money for expenses as bribes for doctors, hospital administrators and government officials to prescribe more drugs. In the midst of these allegations, the tipster has said that such company-sponsored trips were part of a broader effort involving perks and cash of about $160, honorariums and $326.8 speaking fees to get doctors to boost drug prescriptions
Glaxo has declined to comment on these allegations so far.